Fri04182014

No justice without the truth!

My old emotional coding screamed for disagreement. The false pride that my father warned me of daily as a child – “False pride will kill ya.” – dared me to agree with the “White” and perhaps Jewish woman.  “Race, Wrongs and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century”
By Amy L. Wax
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.
c. 2009

 
 Maia Ajanaku- Locke

by Maia Ajanaku-Locke

Special to the Tri-State Defender

I judged this book by its cover. The title grabbed my attention. I am not disappointed.

My old emotional coding screamed for disagreement. The false pride that my father warned me of daily as a child – “False pride will kill ya.” – dared me to agree with the “White” and perhaps Jewish woman. Still, my intellect and our current protracted conditions on every major socio-economic level described by Professor Amy L. Wax in her book, “Race, Wrongs and Remedies,” demand that I read with integrity. I know that something is wrong with us that we cannot find our own way off the plantation with the gates wide open.

Wax, a Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, is on to something that I, and others in my community, have known for a long time. In my case, however, my anger was unchecked, and my emotional cup was too full to publicly admit the error of my ways. I did not know the extent of our group image and how it affected my personal image until I was forced into a breakthrough while in a physician’s office in East Memphis about the same time that I purchased this book.

It is, simply, not true that one man or a group of men can make a slave out of a captive or millions of captives without any acquiescence on the part of the captive or captives. No man, or woman, is ever without the power to think, speak and act in his or her own defense; at least not until death comes and not even then, for death is the final arbiter. It ends all contracts, just or not. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If a man has nothing worth dying for, then he has no business living.”

As long as I denied this truth, with the support of egotistical thinkers on the other side of town saying that black captives had no choice, I could not find my way or be made, as Wax framed it, “whole again”. There was nothing internal or external that could cure what ailed me. Justice cannot be had without the truth. And, our children cannot continue to accept our continuous excuses of victimhood, being the perpetual underdog and, yet, remain mentality healthy, which might be one of the underlying factors in our failure to thrive in the world of work, academia or in the community or in other communities with children of affluence who are not forced by their parents or their social group to wear the scarlet letters V of S (victim of slavery).

Wax gives her summations against the idea that reparations and affirmative action alone can serve as solutions for economic woes, educational shortcomings and a plethora of social dysfunctions, including living with illiterate, financially-strapped parents who shop for groceries in their pajamas and on top of all that drama, having babies themselves out of wed-lock.

Wax concludes that self-correction and internal cultural reform by the group are now the only effective tactics for eliminating the long list of self imposed disadvantages that keep us from joining the remainder of the human race as equals. I agree totally. The ball is and has always been in our court.

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